[ ih-feys ]
See synonyms for efface on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object),ef·faced, ef·fac·ing.
  1. to wipe out; do away with; expunge: to efface one's unhappy memories.

  2. to rub out, erase, or obliterate (outlines, traces, inscriptions, etc.).

  1. to make (oneself) inconspicuous; withdraw (oneself) modestly or shyly.

Origin of efface

From the Middle French word effacer, dating back to 1480–90; see ef-, face

Other words from efface

  • ef·face·a·ble, adjective
  • ef·face·ment, noun
  • ef·fac·er, noun
  • un·ef·face·a·ble, adjective
  • un·ef·faced, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use efface in a sentence

  • When she retired from those boards, she found a home with her self-effacing husband in Auteuil, and there died in 1698.

  • To his military ability and self-effacing patriotism he added a far-seeing wisdom in council that could always be relied upon.

  • Cottrell was an excellent riverman, active as a squirrel and ready to take any chances, but extremely quiet and self-effacing.

    The Boss of Wind River | David Goodger (goodger@python.org)
  • She put away at once the fatigue that pressed on her (the gift still "worked" in a flash for the effacing of bodily sensation).

  • I really think you are making a mistake by effacing yourself so readily on all occasions.

    The Girls at Mount Morris | Amanda Minnie Douglas

British Dictionary definitions for efface


/ (ɪˈfeɪs) /

  1. to obliterate or make dim: to efface a memory

  2. to make (oneself) inconspicuous or humble through modesty, cowardice, or obsequiousness

  1. to rub out (a line, drawing, etc); erase

Origin of efface

C15: from French effacer, literally: to obliterate the face; see face

Derived forms of efface

  • effaceable, adjective
  • effacement, noun
  • effacer, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012